Reviews

MNDSGN
Rare Pleasure

(Stones Throw)

7/10

The contradiction in Ringgo Ancheta’s approach to his work will already be obvious to anyone familiar with MNDSGN – although, for those discovering him for the first time on this new full-length, it’ll still become clear pretty swiftly. The Los Angeles native’s stylistic slaloms suggest an artist consumed by musical wanderlust, forever adding and subtracting colours from his sonic palette, but the end result never sounds as fidgety as that might have you expect; instead, Rare Pleasure, like much of Ancheta’s output to date, is a blissfully laid-back record, with its early summer release date surely no accident.

Any given MNDSGN record is bound to be an experimental affair but after 2018’s Snax and its follow-up, Snaxx, in 2019, Rare Pleasure feels a little more single-minded. Those releases resembled something closer to mixtapes in their anything-goes approach; this one, on the other hand, paints more carefully, melding samples lifted from soundtracks, freeform jazz, R&B touchpoints from across the past four decades and, occasionally, flickers of old-school psych to produce the most cohesive MNDSGN album yet.

The results are still mercurial, though; for as consistently chilled as Rare Pleasure sounds on the surface, it shifts shape from track to track, meaning we flit between, for instance, the quiet triumph of ‘Hope You’re Doin’ Better’, which is built around a nineties-style hip hop beat, to the woozy neo-balladry of ‘Masque’, which recalls Frank Ocean at his haziest. Elsewhere, ‘Medium Rare’ might be the standout, cut from similar cloth to ‘Masque’ but imbuing the blueprint with jazzy flourishes of piano and saxophone, whilst closer ‘Divine Hand II’ is a real handbrake-off moment, complete with rapidly fluctuating time signatures. There’s no question that Rare Pleasure represents evolution for Ancheta – this is his most focused work to date.

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